For those of you who find the paint-by-numbers approach employed by far too many emo bands to be exceedingly dull, here's some good news: An increasing number of them find it boring, too. Matchbook Romance is a case in point. A quartet from the rock hotbed of Poughkeepsie, New York, the group, led by guitarist/vocalist Andrew Jordan, caught the attention of Epitaph's Brett Gurewitz -- a predictable outcome, since its music didn't stray far from the sonic template of Bad Religion, Gurewitz's veteran collective. Stories and Alibis, Matchbook's 2003 debut full-length, wasn't a disaster, but neither did it challenge the melodic-punk formula. In contrast, Voices, the act's new CD, shows some signs of artistic growth, particularly on "Goody, Like Two Shoes," a seven-minute opus featuring an ambitious arrangement and lyrics that avoid the style's most egregious clichs. If the disc is no masterpiece, at least it suggests that the men of Matchbook Romance are growing weary of using everyone else's palette.
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